Exploring Metal
Join date: Jan 2009
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My guitar teacher uses this style of anchoring. Or, rather, it seems like anchoring - but i'm not sure if it is. Basically, during tremolo picking, he places his pinky (for me it's my fourth finger) on the pickguard and uses that as his stabilization point, but it does glide across the pickguard as he moves between strings. He pushes very lightly so it gives him finer control and a point to navigate from, but it doesn't stick to it like glue.
I think he does this while alternate picking as well. That is, during solo's, lead parts, scale runs, sweeps, and so on.

I tried this just today, and it does give me much more stability and finer control. But, anchoring is frequently said to be a bad practice here. However, as far as I know the anchoring that is referred to in that case is the kind where you heavily push your finger down into the pickguard and make it stick like glue on the same position no matter what string you're on. So, this kind of anchoring, is this bad as well? Will this cause any muscle trouble, tension, and-so-on?
Last edited by robbit10 at Jan 20, 2013,
Buckethead's Right Hand
Join date: Mar 2011
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I use the same kind of anchoring that you have explained while picking with my finger muscles, and my picking had improved much compared to the time then I picked only with my wrist, without anchoring.

It's all about what works for you. There are number of things that UG says I shouldn't do that I did & they made my playing way better.

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Join date: Jun 2009
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Quote by robbit10
the anchoring that is referred to in that case is the kind where you heavily push your finger down into the pickguard and make it stick like glue on the same position no matter what string you're on.

You may not be heavily pushing your finger down, but essentially that is the point. It's bad when it comes to muscle tension and restricting your picking movement.

Quote by robbit10
So, this kind of anchoring, is this bad as well? Will this cause any muscle trouble, tension, and-so-on?

Depends how tense you are. Typically, anchoring is when you literally "anchor" your fingers/hand to one spot. Sometimes the harder/faster you pick, the more tense you'll be.

However, touching the guitar is fine and is allowed. If you're loose enough to move your hand around freely, then it's probably fine- but I wouldn't personally recommend doing that in order to find "stability" as you're limiting your range of picking movement.

It comes down to where the movement is "coming from". If it's totally a wrist action and your fingers happen to be touching the guitar body, then it's fine. If you're using those fingers as a support to help you pick in any way, then you may want to re-evaluate your technique.
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Join date: Dec 2008
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Yup, this is one of those gray areas that gets categorized as personal preference.
It does affect your playing and has trade-offs but if done correctly, the differences are minimal enough to where you can be an excellent player with either style.

Touching the guitar or maintaining gliding-contact with the pickguard isn't bad if you do it correctly, but most people don't, they apply pressure to the contact which creates FRICTION which slows them down AND creates unwanted tension in the picking hand.

Personally, I recommend the free-floating style. Then you never have this issue.
It may seem less stable (until your hand/wrist gets strong enough) but so does your bike when you take the training wheels off... Yeah they're easier and you may think you need them, but you don't.

Also, if you apply true anchoring with surgical precision for a specific reason -
e.g. You use it as a pivot point when tremolo picking (like your instructor)
then immediately stop doing it and return to "normal form"
- then it is simply an alternate technique for achieving tremelo picking (variant 2)

In my opinion, you are still better off learning variant 1 - "free floating" tremelo picking purely from the wrist. Why? Because this technique helps reinforce all your other normal techniques whereas anchoring for tremelo does not - it's only useful to that one situation

Happy Jammin!
Last edited by InfiniStudent at Jan 24, 2013,
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Join date: Dec 2010
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+1 to what everyone above says

I'll also add that it doesn't add stability or finer control. Practicing and perfecting your technique will do that.
Unless you are used to anchoring like that and can play like that while being relaxed in your hand I'd suggest avoiding anchoring.
Do not start anchoring to achieve more control and precision or whatnot, because that will come by itself with practice.
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Join date: Feb 2013
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You should never touch the guitar with any part of your arm or hand at all. And you should be sure all the movement is coming from the arm. Lots of people have got carpal from moving their wrist. Its a bad habit because you cant reach up and down the strings good too.
Last edited by SSMMUURRFF69 at Feb 14, 2013,
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Join date: Oct 2011
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As someone who used to anchor or touch the scratchplate with the pinky
i would say try to avoid it just my opinion.. and also the post above don't listen do not pick from the arm unless we are talking rotating..
But this goes up to 11
Andy Pollow
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Join date: Nov 2012
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Your a noob.

Now I think anchorin the pinky in one place is the best way to pick cuz..... Too many reasons to list. I dig it. Like Jason Becker. But whatever - Frank Gambale and that Dream Theater guy slide the pinky around like that. Yngwie slides his ring finger on the pickgaurd.
Join date: Feb 2013
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John Petrucci anchors his pinky not slides it. Because hes a dumbass like you. NOOB.
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You should post up a video or clip of you playing with your arm picking. If you're going to call everybody noobs and disagree with proven techniques. Let's see how great you are.

Can't wait to see it.